US President Donald Trump revealed on Thursday that large parts of the F-35 fighter jet is produced in Turkey, but that he is considering moving production to America.
“We make F-35s – very important, the greatest jet in the world – where the main body of the jet is made in Turkey and then it’s sent here,” Trump remarked during an interview with Fox Business.
“The problem is if we have a problem with a country, you can’t make the jet. We get parts from all over the place. It’s so crazy. We should make everything in the United States,” Trump explained, saying that if US relations with Turkey were to collapse, Turkey could withhold delivery of key parts.
Although Turkey is both a parts manufacturer and major buyer of the Lockheed Martin F-35, ties between the NATO allies were badly strained last year when Turkey bought the Russian S-400 defence system.
Despite being suspended from the F-35 program nearly a year ago, Turkey is still producing and delivering parts for the Joint Strike Fighter, Turkish Defense Industry Director İsmail Demir told Reuters last month.
In 2019, The United States declared that Russia’s S-400 system was incompatible with NATO systems and threatened the capabilities of its Lockheed Martin F-35 jets. But, Turkey rejected this and said the S-400s would not be integrated into the alliance’s defences.